Family Law Attorney Belleville, Illinois

Your Guide to Alimony and Spousal Support in Illinois

Illinois family law book under judge's gavel.

Alimony can change the way you live. Make sure you have an experienced divorce lawyer on your side.

One of the most contentious issues in many divorces is spousal maintenance, commonly also known as alimony or spousal support.

Typically, alimony is provided when one spouse makes more money than the other spouse. The breadwinner will sometimes pay the other ex-spouse a set amount of money, usually for a defined period.

Not all divorces include an order to pay alimony. Illinois law has set specific criteria for awarding and determining spousal maintenance. However, just like with any law, there is room for negotiation and interpretation. You deserve a fair arrangement.

At Courtney Clark Law, P.C., our legal team can investigate finances - with or without the other spouse's cooperation - and fight for the best outcome for your situation. If you're considering filing for divorce in Illinois, contact Courtney Clark Law P.C. for a free consultation. Our Illinois divorce attorneys can discuss spousal maintenance and any other aspects of your divorce at no cost.

In the meantime, here's what you need to know about how alimony works in Illinois.

Who qualifies for alimony or spousal support in Illinois?

The goal of any spousal maintenance decision or agreement is to address differences in income between the spouses and maintain the standard of living for both. There are more than a dozen factors that courts may consider to determine whether to award spousal maintenance. These factors include:

  • Each spouse's current income and assets.
  • Present and future earning capacity.
  • Age and health.
  • Standard of living established during the marriage.
  • Tax consequences.

Financially significant sacrifices made during the marriage are also considered. For example, courts would likely modify the award if one spouse stopped working to raise the children or they delayed getting a degree, or turned down a job because of the marriage.

How is alimony calculated in Illinois?

Illinois uses a specific formula to determine the value of maintenance or alimony payments:

Take 30% of the payor's annual income and subtract 20% of the receiving spouse's annual income. The spouse receiving alimony cannot collect more than 40% of their combined income.

How long do I have to pay/collect alimony?

This largely depends on the length of the marriage. The number of payments or duration of payments is calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage by a fixed statutory factor, ranging from 20% for marriages shorter than 5 years and up to 80% for marriages between 19 and 20 years. For marriages longer than 20 years, alimony payments can be the entire length of the marriage or indefinite.

What happens if a spouse stops paying alimony?

Depending on the circumstances, a judge may instruct the party to pay. Other options to enforce payment include wage garnishment, intercepting tax returns, and even criminal charges.

How is alimony affected if I have a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement?

Postnuptial and prenuptial agreements are legally binding. Typically, these agreements outline rights or responsibilities, as well as financial arrangements if the marriage ends in divorce. In general, if alimony or spousal support is addressed in a nuptial agreement, those arrangements will be upheld.

Do you have to pay alimony if you are in an Illinois civil union?

A civil union is a legally recognized partnership that grants those in civil unions the same rights, legal obligations, responsibilities, and protections as married spouses. Therefore, alimony may be ordered in a dissolved civil union.

Our experienced divorce attorneys are here to help

Don't underestimate the complexity of your case. At Courtney Clark Law, P.C., we understand the seriousness and urgency of your legal matter. That's why we want to meet with you as soon as possible. Contact our law firm and schedule your free case evaluation today to find out how we can help you.

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